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Ontario’s energy intensive industries have finally been permitted to burn many kinds of waste, in place of coal. Cement companies, among others, are now looking for sufficient quantities of eligible biomass they can dry and burn to fuel their kilns. With cap and trade on the way, this is an important and overdue step to allow Ontario’s Large Final Emitters to reduce their carbon emissions.

O. Reg. 79/15: Alternative Low-Carbon Fuels, allows facilities that otherwise burn coal or coke to apply for permission to burn alternative fuels with a lower carbon dioxide emission intensity. The alternative fuels must be either:

  1. i. not derived from or composed of any material set out in Schedule 1 (25 types of items, which are either recyclable or hazardous, such as tires, are excluded),
    ii. wholly derived from or composed of materials that are biomass or municipal waste or a combination of both, and
    iii. unless the fuel is wholly derived from or composed of materials that are solid biomass, has a high heat value of at least 10,000 megajoules per tonne. OR
  2. wholly derived from or composed of organic matter, not including peat or peat derivatives, derived from a plant or micro-organism and grown or harvested for the purpose of being used as a fuel.

A facility that opts into the new “burn waste not coal” regulatory regime will be not be classified as a waste disposal facility requiring an Environmental Compliance Approval under section 27 of the Environmental Protection Act. It will have to keep detailed records, much like those already required for facilities burning woodwaste.

These facilities will still need air permits under s. 9 of the Environmental Protection Act, to control their air emissions.

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